Features 27 Feb 2024

Debrief: 2024 Supercross Rd7 Arlington

Main event winners Webb and Deegan recall seventh round.

Round seven of Monster Energy Supercross in Arlington was once again unpredictable, with late-race crashes and mistakes proving costly for some, but it was the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing duo of Cooper Webb and Haiden Deegan standing on the top step of the podium in their respective classes. Both riders were available to the media following the main events for this Debrief feature.


Image: Octopi Media.

It was a rough night for you. I want you to talk about that because it ended in fantastic fashion. But start with kind of the hardships you faced, then take us through what it means to get this win here, in your house in Arlington.

Yeah like I said, it was a tough day. Qualifying wasn’t great, then in the heat race I got a great start and just went backwards. So, just struggling with the track a little bit and my myself. It was good to really turn it around. I was pretty down after the heat. So it was good to just flip the switch and go and be competitive in the main event… by no means that I think I would go and win. But I wanted to regroup and got a good start and put myself in a great position, and I rode a solid main behind Jett [Lawrence], obviously got a little bit of a gift there, but we were trying to catch him there at the end and, we were close. So who knows if maybe it was the pressure. But either way, I’ll take it, and man it just feels awesome.

You say it’s a bit of a gift, but you traditionally when the track breaks down and gets tougher, you tend to step up and get better.

No for sure. It was tough, that section was really tough as the main event went on and it was hard to get that rhythm clean each lap. I didn’t see it entirely but yeah, that section was really tough.

It was an awesome podium speech from you, especially the line of buying a suite here. It’s crazy when a guy can be so good at a stadium, even when you’re not feeling it, obviously you had to pull yourself out of a hole tonight. Can you just brainstorm on what this place brings out of you? Like, do you have any kind of feelings about why this building?

I don’t know. You know, I think we all have our spot where we just are good at. We’re going to Eli’s [Tomac] next week. We just gel with certain places and cities and stadiums. For me, I always really like this dirt and how the track breaks down, it’s typically a bit tighter and just fits my style. I don’t know if I was growing up racing spring nationals in Texas and just the people, the environment’s great. So you know, I think that’s just a little bit of it, you just get those good feelings. Even on the broadcast, it showed 2019, when I passed Kenny [Roczen] and it was the closest race ever, and I think just that alone, like every time I see it, it just brings back a smile and just reminds me that this is a great, great place and I am a bad dude. Like I said, it was much needed, to pull myself out of the hole early as the day went on. But, I never thought I would have won tonight, that’s for sure. So, I’m stoked I did.

Can you talk us through the mental process of digging yourself out of a hole on a day like today? This year is one of the hardest years to be having bad days. There’s so many fast guys out there.

It was tough because I felt really good. Like, I went around and I do a lap and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’ll be on the board,’ and you’re not even close. So, that was tough. Normally I made mistakes or bike set up was off, it’s a lot easier to regroup when you’re just slow. It’s good to have a good group behind you and a lot of people that believe in you and just pull your head out of your ass sometimes.

In 2019, it kind of had some inklings of this season, the way I see it. It kind of started off a little rough and now you’re starting to come on. Does it feel like some of your past championship runs coming into the east and starting to get a head of steam?

It’s hard to say, you know, last weekend was really tough. So, we needed a great race tonight. Obviously winning here is huge and I think as the points get tighter, as we always say, headed to Daytona, headed that way it’s always important to be in the title fight, but this year doesn’t feel like any of the other years. I’ve ridden, I feel like the best I have and I don’t have as many podiums or wins as maybe as I did at this point before. So, it’s a stacked class. The field is really, really deep, a lot of fast guys and you have to be on you’re A game and I think you’ve seen, we’ve all been kind of all over a little bit. So, it’s an awesome feeling to get a win and to be back closer in the points and just kind of re-establish things and get some confidence moving forward. Like you said, headed east and headed to some places I really enjoy.

Obviously you and Jett were kind of going back and forth, it looked like the gap was kind of similar throughout most of the race. Did you have a section where you were going to make a last minute push at the end? Obviously, he made the mistake. But did you have a section of where you’re really going to try and push in the last lap or last couple laps?

Honestly, I didn’t know. I put a late race charge together and lappers can play a part. So, I was just really trying to push and get as close as I could. It was a tricky track with the passing points because it was super, super rutted. Then the sand really kind of changed a lot. I was just trying to get close enough to make a pass, I didn’t really have anything planned at that point. It’s tough when we’re doing really short laps, you don’t really know how many laps you have left. So, I was just trying to get as close as I could at the end and obviously it played out well for me.

When you got into the lead, did you know how close Eli and Aaron [Plessinger] were to you when you were going through all that chaos with the lappers?

I could see Eli coming at about halfway. I could start to see him creeping in and taking chunks out and I was looking at the clock going, ‘Man, I better get it together, he’s going to come past me.’ He kind of brought AP a little bit closer. It was tough, there was some lappers and guys down, one lap I missed the whole rhythm because a guy was down. So, just some tricky conditions and you wanna push but then it’s easy to make mistakes. I was keeping track and knew, either way, I needed to keep those guys behind me for sure.

When you won the Triple Crown, you seemed a little disappointed that you didn’t win one of the features, you were happoy to win the overall. Now you’ve won a feature against all these guys heading into Daytona, does that change the confidence level or does that change anything at all?

For sure. I mean, it was great to win the Triple Crown but to not win a main was a little… you just wanna win right? So tonight, to win a regular main event and in this environment and in that situation, it felt really nice. I’ve been reminded by a buddy of mine that it’s been exactly almost a year since I’ve won a main event. So now I can tell him, hey, it’s back to zero days.

You guys are first on track now. How is that for you having a fresh track? Is it significantly different?

It’s different, you know. We’ve had a long time going second, so it’s definitely different. That being said, you can literally go as fast as you want. It’s pretty crazy. We get to our main event like three hours laters and it’s not even the same track. So, it’s different. I had to get used to it, it’s not my cup of tea. But, it is what it is, right?


Image: Octopi Media.

I want to talk about that kind of the tribute to your pops and what he did and how it feels to follow in his footsteps and now get your own supercross win?

Getting the dub. I was behind Austin for a while and obviously you hate to see that. It’s not anything you want to see in this sport and it’s a dangerous sport. Stuff like that happens often, but obviously, yeah, I hope he heals up, that was not good. But yeah, first win, that was exciting and I was like, ‘I don’t know, I’ve won and I was like, I mean, this is a little jump, why not ghost ride it?’ I was honestly a little scared like, like if it was a triple would I get stuck to the bike and fly through the air or something weird?. So, I mean, it’s a little jump. I’m going to ghost ride this thing.

After Austin’s crash, you all of a sudden find yourself with a seven second lead cruising towards your first main event win. Is it hard to maintain the focus? Are you feeling nerves in that moment?

Yeah, I mean, the nerves are always there the whole race, it was just trying for me just to hit my marks every lap and not make one mistake, that’s honestly – which I think this 250 class lacks – is consistency, these guys make a lot of mistakes. So, if you can be the guy to not make these mistakes, that puts you up front, right? I mean, Jet Lawrence came in, won, went to the 450 class quick. He didn’t spend a lot of time here. He was consistent and upfront and not making a dumb move. You just wanna be consistent. The nerves were there. First win, but I’ve led some races so it wasn’t too bad.

Does this put an end to any of the questions about your wrist, this performance tonight?

I’d say so. I’m on a little bit of the same road as [Cameron] McAdoo. I didn’t get much of a pre-season to be honest, but it’s in the mind. You gotta have the mental strength to push through those things. But yeah, I’d say we put an end to that thing and we’re pushing forward from there

How important was it to have this win after Detroit?

Detroit obviously went a little south on the start. It was my fault, I didn’t get a good start. It bit me and so I went and worked on starts and nearly holeshot the main, came out second. So I’d say we got the starts pretty dialed. Not 100 percent holeshot, but we came around that first turn almost first. So we got a little more work to do, but starts were dialed, although you could say it was a little gifted with Austin crashing, which again, you don’t want to see that. But I mean, I was getting ready, I had that energy. I was ready to cook up a nasty battle at the end. I was waiting, waiting and I ended up with the better end of the stick in that race. So we ended up getting the dub.

To be able to ghost ride and honorto your father. What did that mean for you in the moment?

I mean, yeah, I was like, I gotta do it. I’ve been telling a lot of people I’m gonna ghost ride it eventually. I’ve kind of been pushing it out. I now look back at it and I was like, I should have done it at LA Coliseum. It would have been more historic. I just didn’t know I won though until Duff came up to me. So, I’m gonna blame that one on Duff, [laughs].

We’ve seen your progress for your rookie year last year. Did you expect this all to come so quickly? Like, I think, two years ago at this point, what you’re prepping to race to spring nationals in the B class. Walk us through how quickly things have happened for you and how you’ve been able to make such quick gains.

Yeah, definitely. It’s all part of the plan. My dad has set me on a great path and we’ve worked together really hard on consistency, and mental, a lot of it’s mental, grit and I was raised like that. I was raised to have a lot of grit, no quit and not take any crap. So that’s just kind of what’s built in me and I felt like that’s helped a lot with my upbringing in the rookie season. So, obviously had a nice consistent rookie season, which that was honestly best case scenario for me. I was able to build a lot and honestly bring it into the supercross season even though we had a little hiccup before the season. We had another thing thrown at us too, with a new bike. So that’s kind of building that back up too. Just started on that for preseason and then not getting much time on it. So yeah, continuously working on suspension, working on the bike, getting it better with the team and it’s progressing good.

You mentioned your Dad and obviously the path that he kind of planned out for you. Just talk about your relationship with him. Sometimes when guys turn pro, the relationship with their family gets a little bit bumpy, but obviously he’s been a huge support, your whole family has been, but your Dad has been right there.

Yeah, definitely. I think the part where some guys go wrong is thinking they’re better than their Dad. You have to understand that he’s your Dad, you have to listen to him and he knows. He’s been through it, especially my Dad. I’ll tell you he’s been through it. So he definitely has good guidance for me. I mean, sometimes you have like different thoughts or whatever, but you end up agreeing with him. He’s usually right. So it’s just you have to get along with your Dad in this sport and you’ll pursue pretty far.